African Evangelical Leaders Call for More Efforts to Achieve Millennium Development Goals

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October 12, 2007

For Immediate Release

Contact: Marion Uzac, Press Secretary, [email protected]
Sylvia Soon, Chief-of-Staff, [email protected]

Evangelical leaders from across the world have joined a meeting with the United Nations (UN) General Secretary Ban Ki-moon at a historic Global Leaders Dinner in Arlington, Virginia, on the evening of October 11.

The meeting was convened to educate and inform evangelical policy leaders about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and to emphasize the huge potential contribution they could make in the fight against poverty.

“It was a great time, a historical moment that we could be with the General Secretary of UN and at the same time having hope that this world as a whole is in the position to deal seriously with the issues, and to halt poverty by 2015,” said the Rev. Patson Netha, Executive Secretary of the Association of Evangelicals of Africa (AEA). “That is a huge hope - that there is a possibility for all MDGs, that all eight of them, can be dealt with.”

In his address to Christian leaders, Mr. Ban revealed his concerns for the African region in meeting the MDGs.

“In Africa we’re not nearly on track to meet the goal of reducing poverty by half by 2015. I’m deeply concerned that in sub-Saharan countries there is not a single country on track of these MDGs,” said Ban. “It is intolerable that half a million women die every year from treatable complications of pregnancy and childbirth. It is again intolerable that HIV/AIDS continues as a modern day scourge. It is intolerable that ten million children die each year before they reach their fifth birthday.”

He added, “As I see it 2008 should be a year of new directions. The United Nations can and must do better.”

Rev. Netha believes that with more effort, meeting the MDGs is something that is achievable.

“We need to try by all means to meet our MDGs,” said the Rev. Netha. “It can be done if we actually concentrate seriously on the issues that are on the ground; dealing with poverty, education, eradication of malaria, and the eradication of other diseases.

“I think we need to put in more effort because we’re the only part of the world that seems to be going backwards instead of going forward.”

Highlighting the issue of responsible governance, Rev. Netah added: “We need to have the government be accountable to the people that have elected them, and we also need the government to be in a position to seriously deal with issues on the ground.”

Bishop Paul Mususu, Executive Director of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia, also shared his concerns on the lack of efforts being made in African sub-Saharan countries.

He said, “The majority of our people do not even know that our leaders committed themselves to such an important task that would benefit them. They’re doing all sorts of things except maintain what would benefit their own countries.”

Urging for greater efforts to tackle poverty and fulfill the promises of the MDGs, he concluded, “Our hope and prayer is that not only should we be back on track, but put everything, all our energies, all that we have, in making sure we’re doing what we’re saying.”

The Association of Evangelicals of Africa and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia are member organizations of World Evangelical Alliance (WEA). The International Director of WEA, Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, commented: “I deeply appreciate the involvement of the top African evangelical leaders engaging in this dialogue with the U.S. evangelicals around the key issues of eradicating extreme poverty,” said Dr. Tunnicliffe. “I’m hoping for deepening of partnership between American evangelicals and African churches as result of this important gathering.”

World Evangelical Alliance (WEA): World Evangelical Alliance is made up of 128 national evangelical alliances located in 7 regions and 104 associate member organizations. The vision of WEA is to extend the Kingdom of God by making disciples of all nations and by Christ-centered transformation within society. WEA exists to foster Christian unity, to provide an identity, voice and platform for the 420 million evangelical Christians worldwide